The Northern Cape village of Orania, an Afrikaner cultural settlement, has its own ‘currency’ called the Ora.
Before anyone from the South African Reserve Bank gets his or her knickers in a knot, let it be said that the Ora can be likened to a voucher.
One Ora unit has the value of one SA Rand, and it’s popular with collectors and visitors looking for a memento of their stay in Orania.
The 10-Ora note carries the image of a distraught young Afrikaner girl wearing a bonnet, with her younger brother collapsed in her arms. She seems to be calling out for help.
Meet Racheltjie de Beer, folk heroine of the Africaner people.
According to legends told at firesides for more than 150 years, Rachel de Beer (fondly remembered as ‘Racheltjie’) was born in 1831, to a struggling farmer family in the old Orange Free State.
When she was 12, the De Beers decided to trek to the southern Transvaal (now known as Gauteng Province) and they stopped over on a farm en route and in foul weather.
The family calf, who went by the name of Frikkie, wandered off and everyone decided to go searching for him. Racheltjie and her six-year-old brother went out looking for Frikkie as well.
The problem was (a) they didn’t know their way around the valley where they were encamped and (b) it was a chilly winter’s day, with snow threatening to fall after dark and send temperatures plummeting.
The two children were separated from the rest of the search party and ended up being totally lost in the early evening. With snowflakes beginning to drop, Racheltjie found a large antheap, scooped out the dirt and made a space for her shivering brother.
With little hesitation, she took off all her clothes and covered her brother. Then she lay down, naked, at the entrance to the antheap so she could shield her brother from the chill.
The next morning her lifeless and frozen body was discovered, but behind it the searchers found the little boy, cold but alive.